Garner v. United States

RESPONDENT:United States
LOCATION:Approximate site of car accident

DOCKET NO.: 74-100
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 424 US 648 (1976)
ARGUED: Nov 04, 1975
DECIDED: Mar 23, 1976

Burton Marks – for petitioner
Keith A. Jones – for respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Garner v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 04, 1975 in Garner v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – March 23, 1976 in Garner v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 74-100, Garner against the United States, will be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

This case is here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Petitioner revealed, in his Federal Income Tax returns that he was a professional gambler.

He was subsequently indicted and tried on a gambling conspiracy charge.

His returns were introduced in evidence despite his Fifth Amendment claim of privilege against compulsory self-incrimination that petitioner had voluntarily revealed his status as a gambler.

Although he was compelled by law to file the tax returns, he could have claimed the privilege with respect specific disclosures at the time of filing.

In these circumstance, we think the general rule applies, that privilege must be claimed prior to disclosure in the absence of some factor that deprives the individual of a free choice.

As there was no such factor in this case, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Justice Marshall filed an opinion, concurring in the judgment in which Mr. Justice Brennan joined.

Mr. Justice Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.